There is a very old Norman town called Verneuil-sur-Avre which is about one-hour due west from Paris and at one time was on the much fought over frontier between France and Normandy when the two were separate countries so to speak. Exactly 597 years ago, there was a horrific battle fought here between the English and the French/Scottish which finally brought the 100 Years War to a close (and you thought the U.S. has been in Afghanistan a long time!) Before that, Normandy was its own country, or part of England or vice-versa … it’s kind of like Texas after the Alamo fell and independence from Santa Ana’s Mexico was achieved. But if you want to know the real story try reading The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris and you’ll get to know William the Conqueror up close and personal. Compared to him our world leaders, well some of the at least, almost seem civilized today. But you know what they say about history: just one damn thing after another.